Posts Tagged ‘xe’

Posted March 20th, 2012

The former director of the security firm Blackwater aided the Libyan opposition and was subsequently sent to contact Syrian rebels in Turkey at the request of a U.S. Government committee, according to published Stratfor emails and reported by Al-Akhbar English.

Blackwater’s primary public contract is with the U.S. State Department for protective services in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Israel.

Jamie F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the chief executive of the security firm SCG International.

In an email sent to Stratfor on February 11, 2011, Smith praised the company’s intelligence gathering and said his “background is CIA and our company is comprised of former DOD [i.e. Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel. We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection.”

Smith became a major source for Stratfor by September as he and Stratfor vice president Fred Burton built a rapport. Smith provided intelligence (under the codename LY700) to Burton on developments in Libya— where  SCG International was contracted to protect Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) members and train Libyan rebel fighters after the implementation of the no-fly zone in March 2011.

Smith provided information on missing surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and allegedly “took part” in the killing of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the town of Sirte.

Burton was impressed by Smith’s intel and reciprocated praise by writing, “Good skinny. This is what is defined as a credible source. Not some windbag Paki academic belching and passing gas.”

The last emails about Smith came on December 13, days before the Stratfor mail servers were reportedly hacked. In one Burton says:

“**Source and Dr. Walid Phares are getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.

** The true mission is how they can help in regime change.

** Source intends to offer his services to help protect the opposition members, like he had underway in Libya.”

Walid Phares is a Lebanese-American citizen who is currently co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group.

In another email from December 13— in which Stratfor is organizing intelligence on the Syrian opposition that Smith had requested— Burton reports that Smith “is meeting w/specific people described as key leaders.”

Burton is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The DSS assists the Department of Defense in following leads and doing forensic analysis of hard drives seized by the U.S. government in ongoing criminal investigations.

Stratfor provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

WikiLeaks has published 925 out of what they say is a cache of 5 million internal Stratfor emails (dated between July 2004 and December 2011) obtained by the hacker collective Anonymous around Christmas.

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In a file picture dated 05 February 2005, members of the US-based Blackwater private security firm scan Baghdad city centre from their helicopter (AFP Photo / Marwan Naamani)

In a file picture dated 05 February 2005, members of the US-based Blackwater private security firm scan Baghdad city centre from their helicopter (AFP Photo / Marwan Naamani)

19 January, 2012

For skeptics of how the American government has conducted its so-called War on Drugs, don’t worry, it will soon be out of their hands.

The US Department of Defense has transferred its armed efforts in Latin and Central America in the War on Drugs to Academi, the private military contractors formerly known as Blackwater, reports BBC Spanish. Before they altered their branding to be known as Xe, then most recently Academi, Blackwater underwent immense criticism for a series of scandals involving contract employees executing civilians throughout the Middle East.

That same company that trained contractors to mercilessly slay helpless Iraqis will now be ushering military contractors south of the border to help combat the War on Drugs there, the outlet reports. With the Constitution only legally allowing the Pentagon to get away with so much, the BBC reports that the transition of control to private contractors will allow them to get away with what “US military forces are not allowed or not encouraged to do.”

The company previously known as Blackwater is just one of several private contractors that have been awarded contracts out of the Department of Defense, reports BBC, and their specific deal will award them several million dollars towards “providing advice, training and conducting operations in drug producing countries and those with links to so-called ‘narco-terrorism’ including Latin America.”

What’s more, it is reported, that those contracts were no-bid agreements authorized by the Pentagon. Under such deals, the DoD forks over federal funds to private companies without ever seeking better offers from competitors.

As long ago as 2007, the Pentagon was considering billions of dollars worth of contracts to private contractor aid in the War on Drugs, but the BBC reports that the latest deal will actually aid in the “transfer” of control out of Washington and instead put the actions of enforcing drug production and trafficking in the hands of civilians, not servicemen bound by certain rules and regulations.
Additionally, the transition will allow the government to usher billions into the War on Drugs, but to the public it will appear as if the effort is, on the periphery, nothing more than another DoD contract. Opposition has long existed to the lengthy War on Drugs, and by continuing the efforts in Central and South America without relying on further Pentagon expenditures, less money will appear to be focused on ongoing operations.

“They surreptitiously want to reduce anti-drug budget by transferring it to private agencies,” Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs tells the BBC. “The drug war is unpopular and has no political weight except in an election year like this, so the Department of Defense wants to remove that spending from their accounts.”

Bruce Bagley, head of International Studies at the University of Miami, tells BBC that the move will appear to cut out “the high political cost” of continuing the War on Drugs directly out of the Pentagon, but could create a massive backlash of the citizens of the countries in question become aware that private mercenaries are being installed to conduct armed operations.

The move is expected to send contractors into Mexico, Colombia and Caribbean and other locales to the south of the United States.